Lower Income, Poor Outcome: A Study on Euphemisms




Langdon, Anjelica Kristine

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This study investigates the effects of euphemisms in the attitudes and perceptions of populations which are currently labeled "lower income" in America. Euphemisms are often used to promote positive communication in society, especially in regards to the communication of negative information. In modern American society, although euphemistic language is encouraged and embraced, the impact of this linguistic shift has yet to be assessed. Without an evaluation of the potential harm of this rhetoric change, the impact of euphemisms cannot be properly perceived and is therefore questioned. The method of investigation involved using surveys with scenarios regarding a hypothetical individual, who is labeled as poor in one version and lower income in the alternate version. It is expected that participants will react with a higher negative attitude towards those labeled as "poor" but will also demonstrate a higher willingness to provide assistance. This study calls for a revaluation of the language used in public policy and programs. The purpose of this study is to advocate for proper language use in order to invoke necessary action, opposed to the promotion of language which conceals emotive or negative communication.



euphemisms, poor, lower income, attitude, perception, assistance, Honors College


Langdon, A. K. (2017). Lower income, poor outcome: A study on euphemisms (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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